Sony A6300 review: The A6300's best-in-class images marred by annoying operation

Autofocus accuracy during continuous shooting is better than before, but ultimately just brings it into parity with cameras like the Nikon D7200 and Canon EOS 80D. You'll find that many of the not-quite-in-focus ones are perfectly suitable for posting at less-than full size.

And, as with all the Sony Alpha models, you really need to carry a spare battery.

Shooting speed

Sony A6000
0.2
0.3
0.2
0.2
2.1
Sony A6300
0.2
0.3
0.2
0.2
2.4
Canon EOS 80D
0.2
0.4
0.2
0.2
0.4
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
0.1
0.3
0.4
0.2
0.7
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
0.1
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.7

Legend:

Shutter lag (typical)
Shutter lag (dim light)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Raw shot-to-shot time
Time to first shot

Note:

Seconds (smaller bars are better)

Continuous-shooting speed

Sony A6000
11.1
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
10.3
Sony A6300
8.3
Canon EOS 80D
7.1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
6.5

Note:

Frames per second (longer bars are better)

Speed bumps

Overall, the camera is straightforward to operate and customizable enough for power users. It offers some great features, including high frame-rate video for slow-motion playback; 4K video with customizable curve and color profiles, time code options, AF drive speed and tracking sensitivity and more pro-friendly tools; and a ton of autofocus-area options.

But occasionally I just want to swing it around by the strap and fling. The A6000 was groundbreaking for its time, and remains a great camera for the price, now almost half that of the A6300. But the company didn't take the opportunity to fix the problems of its predecessor, which at the time -- or at its currently low price -- are easier to stomach.

The file system it uses is outmoded, forcing delays on you when inserting a new card and burying video files in subdirectories. Because of the latter, I've lost videos more than once because I forgot they had to be retrieved separately from the rest of the card's contents.

While it's easy to connect to a mobile device and scroll through and copy images via the Wi-Fi app, Sony still charges extra for capabilities like time lapse via its PlayMemories camera app store. It also forces you to download an app to the phone for full remote-shooting capabilities beyond one-button shutter, unnecessarily adding a level of confusion and inconvenience, as well as creating compatiblity issues.

Finally, I hate that the camera doesn't have in-body image stabilization. This might be a case where Sony's a victim of its own success. I (sort of) give Canon and Nikon a pass because they're institutionally embrangled with optical stabilization. But Sony has been through several generations of sensor-shift stabilization technology, and to exclude it from this enthusiast-targeted model seems like a shortsighted move that impacts the camera's futureproofness.

Conclusion

I said of the A6000 that it "almost has it all." But in the two years since it launched, the definition of "all" has changed, and for its higher price the A6300 isn't quite the amazeballs its predecessor was. The oustanding design and features of the A6000 are now pretty typical. For all the changes in the autofocus system, it's gained some accuracy for tracking but not much speed otherwise. A competitor like the Panasonic Lumix G7 offers close performance and similar capabilities (except for some of the more pro-oriented video features) for a lot less money, though it can't match the photo quality.

On the other hand, you get capabilities with the A6300 that you don't with similarly priced dSLRs like the Canon EOS 80D or D7200 -- 4K video, most notably -- with similar performance and photo quality.

Comparative specifications


Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark IISony Alpha A6000Sony A6300
Sensor effective resolution16.1MP Live MOS24.3MP Exmor HD CMOS
14-bit
24.2MP Exmor CMOS
14 bit
Sensor size17.3 x 13mm23.5 x 15.6mm 23.5 x 15.6mm
Focal-length multiplier2.0x1.5x 1.5x
OLPFYesYesYes
Sensitivity rangeISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600ISO 100 - ISO 25600ISO 100 - ISO 25600/ISO 51200 (exp)
Burst shooting5fps
unlimited JPEG and raw
(10fps with fixed focus and IS off)
11fps
49 JPEG/49 raw
11fps
44 JPEG/21 raw
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
EVF
n/a
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
1.3x - 1.48x/ 0.65x- 0.74x
OLED EVF
0.4 in/10 mm
1.44 million dots
100% coverage
1.07x/0.7x
OLED EVF
0.4 in/10 mm
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
1.07x/0.7x
Hot ShoeYesYesYes
Autofocus81-area
Contrast AF
179-point phase detection, 25-area contrast AF425-point phase detection, 169-area contrast AF
AF sensitivityn/a0- 20 EV-1 - 20 EV
Shutter speed60 - 1/8000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync (Super FP to 1/8,000)30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 x-sync
Metering324 area1,200 zone1,200 zone
Metering sensitivity-2 - 20 EV0 - 20 EV-2 - 20 EV
Best videoH.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p, 50p (52 Mbps); 30p, 25p, 24p (77 Mbps)
AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28MbpsXAVC S @ 100Mbps; UHD 4K 2160/30p, 25p, 24p; 1080/120p
AudioStereo; mic input; headphone jack on HLD-8G gripStereo; mic (via accessory shoe)Stereo, mic input
Manual aperture and shutter in videoYesYesYes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip4GB29 minutes29 minutes
Clean HDMI outYesNoYes
ISSensor shift
(5 axis)
OpticalOptical
Display3 in/7.5cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3-inch/7.5cm
Tilting touchscreen
921,600 dots
3-inch/7.5cm
Tilting touchscreen
921,600 dots
Memory slots1 x SDXC1 x SDXC1 x SDXC
Wireless connectionWi-FiWi-Fi, NFCWi-Fi, NFC
FlashIncluded add-onYesYes
Wireless flashYesNoYes
Battery life (CIPA rating)310 shots
(1,220 mAh)
420 shots
(1,020 mAh)
350 (VF), 400 (LCD)
(1,020 mAh)
Size (WHD)4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in
124 x 85 x 45 mm
4.8 x 2.9 x 1.8 in
120 x 66.9 x 45.1 mm
4.7 x 2.6 x 1.9 in
119 x 66 x 48mm
Body operating weight15.7 oz
446 g
11.6 oz
330 g
14.3 oz (est.)
405 g (est.)
Mfr. price (body only)$1,000
£900
AU$1,250 (est.)
$550
£430
AU$900
$1,000
£1,000
AU$1,700
Release dateFebruary 2015April 2014March 2016

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